On February 6, 2023, over 150 Trans Lives Matter activists gathered at the Oklahoma State Capitol building to protest against a new bill that would restrict access to gender-affirming surgery for minors.
The protesters, who hailed from organisations such as Oklahomans for Equality and Freedom Oklahoma, chanted and held signs before moving indoors to occupy the rotunda of the building.
The bill in question, championed by Republican Governor Kevin Stitt, would ban anyone under the age of 21 from undergoing gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy.
Governor Stitt argued in his State of the State address that minors should not be allowed to make such a ‘life-altering decision’ (although he is happy to make it for them), and that the state should protect its most vulnerable citizens, who cannot vote, drink, or buy cigarettes, (but he is no doubt not so protective of those sent to die in wars).
The protesters, however, countered that trans minors, like cis minors, should have access to medical care regardless of their age.
They labelled the proposed ban as “genocide”, claiming that it would drive trans youths to suicide by denying them access to the care they need.
Benjamin Patterson, one of the organisers, said that he wanted to bring the community together.
Zephyr Cove, another protester, argued that trans kids should be able to access hormone replacement therapy as soon as they have a sense of self and should not be forced to deny their identity.
Governor Stitt has a history of signing laws that are perceived as discriminatory against the trans community. Last year, he signed a bill that banned transgender females from participating in girls’ sports and using girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms in schools.
The current debate surrounding the new bill highlights the ongoing struggle for trans rights in the state of Oklahoma. The fight for trans rights is a fight for dignity, equality, and freedom, and the protesters at the Oklahoma State Capitol building are determined to make their voices heard.
The demonstration at the Capitol building serves as a reminder that the fight for trans rights is far from over.
Trans people, especially trans minors, continue to face significant barriers in accessing medical care and living as their authentic selves.
The 150 activists who gathered at the Capitol building are a testament to the strength and resilience of the trans community, and their demonstration sends a clear message: Trans Lives Matter.